Boat Registration and Licenses in Rhode Island

Boat Registration and Licenses in Rhode Island

Boat titles and registrations are handled by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

Continue reading to learn about the steps to titling and registering your boat AND the boater requirements to operate vessels on RI waters.

Rhode Island Boats to Register & Title

In Rhode Island, the DEM requires ALL motorized boats AND personal watercraft to be registered, with the following exceptions:

  • Watercraft from another country temporarily using RI's waters.
  • Motorboats owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
  • Non-motorized canoes and kayaks.
  • Rowboats.
  • Lifeboats.
  • Ferries.
  • Boats used only for racing.
  • Vessels registered in another state and not kept in Rhode Island for more than 90 days.

Additionally, you must title ALL watercraft primarily used on RI state waters, with the following exemptions:

  • Boats measuring 14 ft. or less.
  • Documented vessels.
  • Lifeboats.
  • Non-motorized:
    • Surfboards.
    • Racing shells.
    • Rowing sculls.
    • Inflatable watercraft.
    • Boats used only for direct transportation between a vessel and the shore.

If you're still unsure about whether your boat requires a title and/or registration, call the RI Department of Environmental Management's boating section at (401) 222-6647 for clarification.

Title & Register Your Vessel in RI

PRIOR to titling and/or registering your boat with the DEM, you'll need to pay sales tax, which is 7% of the purchase price, at the Rhode IslandDivision of Taxation's main office on:

  • Outboard motors purchased from dealers (private party sales are exempt from sales tax requirements).
  • Vessels purchased before July 29, 1993.

Then, to title and/or register your boat with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, begin by gathering the applicable items below:

  • If you need to register your boat, the following completed AND notarized registration applications (you must register the vessel AND its motor):
  • If you need to title your vessel, a completed AND notarized Application for Initial Vessel Certificate of Title.
  • For used boats, a pencil tracing of the watercraft's hull identification number (HIN).
  • A proof of purchase (required for all transactions) for:
    • New boats: Bill of sale on the dealership's letterhead.
    • Used boats: Notarized bill of sale OR gift statement.
  • A proof of ownership (needed for all transactions) for:
    • New boats: Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
    • Used boats: Signed AND notarized boat title OR current registration card (if the vessel was exempt from titling).
  • If applicable, a receipt for sales tax paid.
  • Payment for the applicable vessel title/registration fees.

Then , submit the required title/registration items in person OR by mail at:

  • Department of Environmental Management
  • 235 Promenade St.
  • Room 360
  • Providence, RI 02908

You can choose to register your boat for 2 years OR, if your vessel is longer than 30 ft, you can also opt to register for 1 year.

NOTE: Have a boat trailer you need to register? Head over to our page on special registrations in RI for instructions on how to do so.

RI Boat Title & Registration Fees

The fees to title and/or register your vessel with the RI Department of Environmental Management are as follows:

  • Origina/renewal vessel registration valid for:
    • 2 years (all boat lengths):
      • 1 ft to 15 ft: $32.
      • 16 ft to 20 ft: $42.
      • 21 ft to 25 ft: $66.
      • 26 ft to 30 ft: $108.
      • 31 ft to 35 ft: $212.
      • 36 ft to 40 ft: $264.
      • 41 ft to 45 ft: $316.
      • 46 ft to 50 ft: $418.
      • Over 50 ft: $620.
    • 1 year (vessels longer than 30 ft ONLY):
      • 31 ft to 35 ft: $106.
      • 36 ft to 40 ft: $132.
      • 41 ft to 45 ft: $158.
      • 46 ft to 50 ft: $209.
      • Over 50 ft: $310.
  • Initial boat title: $25.
    • Per lien recorded: $15.
  • Outboard motor registration (only needs to be paid 1 time—does not require renewal): $20.
  • Title transfer fee: $5.
  • Duplicate:
    • Registration card: $5.
    • Boat decals: $2.
    • Vessel title: $5.
  • RI sales tax: 7% of the sale price.

Boat Registration Renewals & Replacements

Rhode Island vessel registrations arevalid for 2 years, expiring on the last day of February. Boatsmore than 30 ft in length can be registered for 1 year.

You can renew your boat registration online by submitting information about your boat AND the appropriate renewal fees to the RI Department of Environmental Management. You'll need to use a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card to pay for the fees.

Replace a Lost Vessel Title or Registration

If you lost or damaged your RI vessel title, registration card, or boat decals, request a replacement by submitting:

Then, you can turn in the items above in person OR by mail to the address on the form.

RI Boater Requirements

In Rhode Island, you mustcomplete a boating safety class if you were born after January 1st, 1986 and wish to operate:
  • A boat with an engine of more than 10 horsepower.
  • Personal watercraft (like jet skis).

To complete the DEM's boater education requirement, you'll need to enroll in a course AND complete a proctored exam. You can opt to take a boating safety course:

  • In the classroom.
  • Online (remember, at the end of the course you'll need to sign up for an in-person proctored exam).

Check out the RI Department of Environmental Management's boating safety page for a list of approved online and in-class education providers.

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